US lifts sanctions on tech exports to Iran

The Obama administration has lifted a set of US sanctions that used to bar sales of consumer electronics and software to Iran.

The sanctions were originally imposed back in 1992.  Two decades later, the US Treasury department has issued a general licence permitting exports of US hardware and software to ordinary Iranians, although Iranian government agencies will still have to look elsewhere, Bloomberg reports.

Although it might look like an admission that the sanctions never really worked in the first place, the US is still trying to maintain its Great Satan image by arguing that the new policy is intended to help Iranians communicate through social media. The cunning plan is to help Iranians overcome communications restrictions imposed by the autocratic regime and overthrow it.

Last time the Iranians took to the streets in great numbers, in the so-called Green Revolution, they faced a violent crackdown in the streets of Tehran and other major cities. Although more communications gear will probably be welcome by the Iranians, an iPhone doesn’t really help when you are confronted by droves of armed thugs.

In addition, it is not like Iran is in a tech blackout. Quite the opposite, tech loving Iranians always manage to find ways of importing banned hardware and the country has no shortage of tech savvy geeks who know how to get around government restrictions and censorship.